Engineers yesterday completed a pilot road for the most difficult stretch of what will be the longest highway tunnel in Asia.
President Chen Shui-bian (
The pilot tunnel, some 750m underground, is primarily designed to give engineers some idea about the rock formation of the site.
"The significance of the pilot tunnel is that from now on, we can say for sure we will be able to get a total picture of Hsuehshan Tunnel's complicated geological elements," said Chen Fu-chiang, an official with the Taiwan Area National Expressway Engineering Bureau.
So far the project has been hindered by unexpected ample underground water and broken layers of sedimentary rocks.
Ten engineers and workers have been killed and a tunnel boring machine worth NT$700 million (US$8.84 million) was destroyed by the dozens of caves-in that have beset the ambitious project since it was launched 12 years ago.
The planned 12.9km-long tunnel, which will include two separate two-lane tunnels, will form part of the 31km Taipei-Ilan highway linking Pingling town, Taipei County with Toucheng, Ilan County.
The Taipei-Ilan highway is expected to be open to the public before the end of 2005, Chen Fu-chiang said. It had earlier been scheduled for completion by 1999.
Once finished, the tunnel will reduce travel time between Taipei and Ilan to 30 minutes, down from three hours.
Chen Fu-chiang said the main contractor, the Taipei-based RSEA Engineering Corp. had altered their construction approaches by adopting a two-pronged method -- tunnel boring machines and blasting -- after foreign engineering advisers failed to tackle the geological barriers.
The entire highway project is projected to cost the government some NT$60 billion.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The US on Thursday removed a warning against all international travel, and placed Taiwan on a list of 13 destinations where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is “very low.” The list was compiled almost five months after the US Department of State issued a “global level 4 health advisory,” urging US citizens to avoid all international travel. On Thursday, the department announced that it was lifting the advisory, saying that “with health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice.” The US